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Site Review: Gradschool Shopper

The Gradschool Shopper Web site is an online resource generated by the American Institute of Physics (AIP). The idea is to provide prospective graduate students a tool for researching graduate programs in physics and related fields. This site offers a wealth of information, including resources for academics, advice on how to succeed in graduate school, funding sources, and links to student and professional organizations in physics.

Navigating this site is essentially effortless. The main page of the Web site is basically the search component for retrieving information about graduate school programs. To find information, simply type in the name of a school or select a geographic location (for graduate programs listed in the city and state of interest). Useful data pertinent to that program and institution will surface. You'll get information on admissions requirements, financial aid, housing, the cost of annual graduate tuition, and graduate degree requirements, as well as lists of department faculty. But that's not all. You'll also find recent statistical data regarding enrollments and graduate degree production, department by department.

Gradschool Shopper includes several practical student resources, as well as data on individual graduate programs. For example, the career info component contains links to the AIP statistical research center, which offers a wealth of information on education and employment trends in physics and associated disciplines, and career development resources such as Science's Next Wave. And if you're still not satisfied, you can find additional careers information within the Resources for Academics component of Gradschool Shopper as well. You can even find links to journals such as Physics Today and The Industrial Physicist, both of which you should get to know.

The only piece of this Web site that does not seem to make much sense as it is currently configured is the Advice and Resources section. Although this is a good element to include with these types of Web sites, the section gives students no additional added value, because it essentially lists the same information previously described. This section would be more useful if it had an interactive component such as a Q&A column.

Overall, this is a first-rate Internet resource. This Web site is based on an annual AIP publication entitled Graduate Programs in Physics, Astronomy, and Related Fields-which is a directory of graduate programs. Thus, the Web site is not frequently updated with information about graduate programs. However, various links such as the AIP Career Services component (within the Advice & Resource section) is updated monthly with new job postings. So, if you are trying to select a graduate school program in physics or a related discipline, this Web site is for you. Enjoy!